So much for my intuitive abilities. After the Steelers beat the Patriots at home, I thought they’d be unstoppable at Heinz Field against their division rival Baltimore Ravens. Instead, the Steelers defense gave up a 92-yard drive to end the game and lost, 23-20, on Sunday night. Now they have to go to Cincinnati and play the tougher-than-expected Bengals. If they want to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot, they’ll either have to win out and hope Baltimore loses two or more games or play for a wildcard spot. Either way, this is a must-win game for Pittsburgh. I think they’ll eke out a win, 24-19.
Even with my big whiff on the Ravens win last week, I went 4-2 again to push my record to 35-19 for the season. Here are my intuitively wild picks for this week:
- Saints at Falcons — This could be the game of the day. The Saints aren’t doing well on the road (2-3) and the falcons are usually tough at home (2-1 this season, though). Atlanta’s good at stopping the run but only middling against the pass, while the Saint’s D is middling all the way around but their offense is Top Ten in both categories. Even so, I’ll pick the Dirty Birds for an upset, 27-24, and it might be an OT game.
- Bills at Cowboys — Buffalo started off like a house on fire, but lately they’ve been getting toasted. Dallas has been inconsistent, but have had flashes of excellence at times, especially in the 49ers game before we realized how good San Francisco had become. Dallas is playing at home against the 25th-ranked pass defense, and I think that will be enough to have the ‘Boys get past the Bills, 28-20.
- Lions at Bears — Detroit is 4-0 on the road and Da Bears are 3-1 at home. They’re both playing for a wild card slot or hoping for a total collapse by Green Bay. Chicago can’t stop the passing game and Detroit can’t stop the rushing game. I’ll choose the Lions and their Cinderella story for the win, but it will be an upset if they can beat Da Bears. Let’s say … 31-27 in a big-scoring muddle.
- Giants at 49ers — New York has been a tough team to pick, but they have made it to 6-2 and 3-1 on the road. The 49ers have been consistently good this year, coming from out of nowhere to dominate the NFC West (Seattle and Arizona are tied for second at 2-6). This is another matchup where one team can’t stop the run and the other can’t stop the pass, but at home I have to give the edge to the 49ers, 28-21.
- Vikings at Packers — Hey, the Vikings won their last game, and they have Adrian Peterson, and … I can’t even type this with a straight face. Get ready for one of the all-time beatdowns in this rivalry’s history. Packers 45, Vikings 17.